Mercedes have finally ditched their unsuccessful W13 and W14 aero concept according to team boss Toto Wolff who confirmed, ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, that the team are embarking on the first step in a new development direction, but he does not expect a “silver bullet.”
Much water has passed under the bridge since Mercedes introduced their out-there concept at the start of last season, only to see their team’s fortunes spiral down, the once-dominant force of Formula 1, now dominated, due to stubbornness – despite warnings from their seven-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton that they were heading nowhere – that has finally given way to pragmatism.
As Monaco shall testify, according to Wolff: “The revised calendar means that Monaco is now the starting point of the European leg of the season. It is a unique event but will still provide an opportunity to learn about the upgrades to W14 – but we also need to be careful not to draw too many conclusions from this one event.
“We are introducing the first step in a new development direction. It won’t be a silver bullet; from my experience, they do not exist in our sport. We hope that it gives the drivers a more stable and predictable platform. Then we can build on that in the weeks and months ahead.
“F1 is tough competition and a meritocracy. We are not where we want to be but there’s no sense of entitlement. It’s just about hard work to get us to the front,” added Wolff in the Mercedes team report.
Wolff: We look forward to returning to Imola in happier circumstances
On the cancelled race in Italy last weekend, Wolff said: “Following the cancellation of the race in Imola, our thoughts are still with the people of the Emilia-Romagna region that have been affected by the terrible flooding.
“We have been saddened by the images but inspired by the rescue work of the emergency services and the resilience shown by the communities. We look forward to returning to Imola in happier circumstances next year,” concluded Wolff.
On track it is also bleak for Mercedes, they are part of a chasing pack trying hard but without success, to keep Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez from winning every race this season; a walkover by the reigning world champs at this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix is going to be tough to prevent.
Mercedes have only won a single race since the new F1 rules came into effect for the 2022 season, when George Russell triumphed in Brazil last year. This year he has yet to stand atop the podium after the first five races.
In the sister car, 103-time Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton has not won since 2021, enduring the leanest spell in his illustrious, record-shattering career since he stepped into F1 back in 2007. Even sparking talk of a switch to Ferrari for a driver who has only driven Mercedes-powered F1 cars.
For Mercedes, the standings at this point are concerning, ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, Round 6 (formerly Round 7) of the 2023 F1 World Championship this is how it looks: